Python Attacked Family Dog
Regarding your recent story titled, “Python Stalked, Then Ate Family Dog in Front of Children” which was posted on 2-27-08 at the FoxNews.com site, I find it both unprofessional and irresponsible for a national news agency such as yours to feature such a blatantly exploitative article which is written in such a sensational manner. The article quotes several misleading bits of dialogue with interviewees and also is irresponsible for its depiction of wildlife, which may cause actual damage in promoting negative attitudes about nature among your readership.
The article states that a “The boy and girl, aged 5 and 7, watched as the scrub python devoured their silky terrier” (FoxNews.com) which is about as sensationalistic a phrase as one could turn given the dry fact of one animal eating another, a fact, which I might point out, is a constant in the natural world. The article goes on to quote an animal control officer who says, “”It actively stalked the dog for a number of days,” Douglas said.” (FoxNews.com).
This article is not only a distortion of biological reality and the process of natural selection, it is also incompetently written and there is a notable lack of balance in the article’s scope. For example, why didn’t the article examine the number of cases where snakes are eaten in the wild by domesticated dogs? Or why didn’t the article quote an actual scientist, a zoologist or an expert in reptiles who would have certainly assure your readers, as is the case, that the vast majority of snakes in the wild are of absolutely no potential threat or danger to domesticated pets or human beings. I defy FoxNews.com to research the number of attacks on humans (or dogs) by boa constrictors around the world for recorded history and compare that to the number of fatalities which are underreported, but nonetheless far more staggering and costly, which occur in in the Middle East every day. If that doesn’t seem to be an effective strategy, the article might have mentioned the millions of snakes that have been killed outright or driven from their natural habitats by humans and urban sprawl.
It is my firm conviction that incompetent journalism and ridiculous articles such as this article expose many mainstream media outlets as being concerned primarily with sensationalism and distortion and only marginally concerned with professionalism, journalistic integrity, or factual evidence.
Associated Press, “Python Stalked, Then Ate Family Dog in Front of Children”. FoxNews.com, accessed 3-12-08 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,332913,00.html